Latest News

Ex-Housing Minister calls for higher Stamp Duty threshold

18 April 2019

Dominic Raab MP, announced a suite of recommendations to shake up the housing market, including changes to stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland. Read More...

Labour considers inflation for Bank of England

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Rise in stay-at-home sons and daughters

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Research from Civitas, Institute for the Study of Civil Society, shows a million more young adults in the UK are living with their parents than there were two decades ago. Read More...

Advice for lone workers

09 April 2019

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have revised their Working Alone leaflet to provide guidance on the risks of lone working. Read More...

Independent review to examine customer service and poor workmanship

09 April 2019

Persimmon’s continues its efforts to improve its customer care, culture and operations which are to be assessed in an independent review. Read More...

New approach to combat money laundering

Friday 05 April 2019

According a news article on the BBC News website, where NAEA Propertymark comments are included, banks and law enforcement agencies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help combat money laundering.

The article says that banks and law enforcement agencies are using AI to tackle the issue because Money laundering accounts for up to 5% of global GDP - or $2tn (£1.5tn) - every year, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

ThetaRay is a financial crime AI provider and their Chief Executive, Mark Gazit, is quoted as saying, “Specialist software is used to arrange lots of tiny bank deposits that slip below the radar.” In the article Mr Gazit says, “A $0.25 transaction will never be spotted by a human, but transactions of that kind can launder $30m if they are done hundreds of millions of times.”

Regulations

Despite tightening regulations, the article argues that the problem of money laundering is getting worse. The BBC explain that in the UK alone, financial crime Suspicious Activity Reports - SARs increased by 10% in 2018, according to the National Crime Agency.

The Group Head of Financial Crime Risk at HSBC, Colin Bell, says, “AI that applies 'machine learning' can sift through vast quantities of transactions quickly and effectively. This could be a vital tool for pinpointing suspicious activity."

Smurfing

For this reason, the article outlines that AI is good at spotting smurfing attempts and accounts that are set up remotely by bots rather than humans. Furthermore, it can also spot suspicious behaviour by corrupt insiders - a key element in many money laundering operations.

Artificial Intelligence

AI, which is already being used by several organisations worldwide can crunch mountains of data in real time - emails, phone calls, expense reports - and spot patterns of behaviour in which humans might not notice across a global banking group. Once the system has learned legitimate behaviour patterns it can then more easily spot shifty activity and learn from that. The article says that regulators around the world are encouraging the new technology.

Property sector

NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive Mark Hayward, who is a member of the UK's new Economic Crime Strategic Board, set up by the Government in January, is included in the article and says, "Data sharing is one of our main priorities."

The Economic Crime Strategic Board includes CEOs and Chief Executives from the banking institutions Barclays, Lloyds and Santander as well as senior representatives from UK Finance, NAEA Propertymark and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Accountants Affinity Group.

Money laundering is a particularly significant risk for the estate agency sector, with agencies in property hotspots like London particularly affected. Fines are hefty for non-compliance and prison sentences are also an option for agents who flout the law, or don't have the correct policies and procedures in place.

Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

The BBC article concludes by saying that legislation must keep up with the latest trends in financial services that criminals can exploit. Therefore, the European Union's Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive introduced last year includes digital currencies and prepaid cards for the first time.

The EU 5AML Directive is due to be enshrined into UK law before 10 January 2020.

Guidance, Training, Roadshows and Resources from Propertymark

Propertymark has various resources, links to HMRC guidance, training courses and other resources which will help you to comply with the regulations – view full details.

Our members' only AML - How to comply guide will explain in more detail the steps that business should take to ensure compliance with the regulations. You can also pick up a printed copy at one of our workshops.

For the latest updates, including what to expect from the forthcoming fifth Money Laundering Directive, you should attend one of our many events taking place throughout 2019 and nationally. Our Roadshows take place during May in LeedsStratford-upon-Avon and Exeter. Or find a regional conferences or workshops near you.

We also offer three AML courses - at foundationintermediate and advanced levels, so whatever your level of experience there will be something to suit you.

Further information

Anti-Money Laundering Toolkit
Treasury Committee release report on Economic Crime
Unannounced inspections from HMRC in money laundering crackdown